Blizzard’s First New IP In 17 Years: ‘Overwatch’Filed inside: News
It’s not a complete shock, however, when the origins of Overwatch are considered. Titan was cancelled for a variety of reasons, but chief among them was a lack of cohesion. Despite the team’s best efforts, the experience never felt complete or unified, and eventually the project was scrapped. Blizzard’s VP Chris Metzen confirmed a connection in a recent press release, however:
“Imagine this amazing team just frustrated. ‘Why can’t we do this?’ It’s trying to fret a chord and write the song. ‘We can’t write the song, why can’t it just sound awesome?’ Can’t find the harmony, whatever. And when we decided to go another way, like Jeff was saying, we’ve got this hook, ‘Why aren’t we doing that? We love that.’ And we decided to do it and, suddenly, ‘Boom!’ The music just exploded. And we started looking at [Overwatch] for what it was, and it unleashed this tidal wave of passion and certainty and distilled, clear ideas. And this world idea. It was just this monstrous thing of energy.”
So what is Overwatch? It’s a six versus six PvP shooter. Not unlike a larger version of Nosgoth or a more fantastical and futuristic Team Fortress 2. The focus this time around isn’t on gritty realism or dark fantasy, but rather a cast of ridiculously over-the-top characters done up in a sort of Pixar-inspired regalia and animation style. Just check out the cinematic trailer to see what I mean:
There’s a definite style and personality in all these characters, which makes the game feel a lot more like League of Legends, if the game were a first-person shooter. The pacing is crazy fast, and each character’s distinct style comes with their own sets of abilities and unique ways to dish death to their opponents and navigate the space.
Tracer is a quick striker, teleporting around the stage to circumvent defenses and deal heavy damage to targets, then rewinding to get out of harm’s way. Widowmaker is a brutal sniper that can grapple to various ledges and see through walls. Bastion is a mobile weapons platform that can turn itself into a powerful stationary turret. Like MOBAs,each character occupies a fairly specific role, but mercifully, these roles are more clearly defined and easier for new players to adapt to and understand.
The aesthetic is styled to match, with bright locations that involve a lot of verticality. Futuristic cities, Japanese-inspired temples, and Egyptian-themed sprawls are among the stages available.
It’s a clever move on Blizzard’s part, taking a game that often involves taking a lot of creative control away from the community and turning it into a game that can be more adaptable and responsive to player feedback. Much like how OVERKILL will often respond to and build on Payday 2 based heavily on player feedback, Overwatch is meant to be built alongside the players, though whether the game is set to become as crucial to Blizzard’s catalog as Warcraft or Diablo remains to be seen.
Now, if they’d just bring back The Lost Vikings, I’ll be happy. Mum’s the word on release details, though it sounds like a beta is slated to go live some time in 2015. Check out the trigger-happy gameplay below.